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"Anne of Windy Poplars" by LM Montgomery

Due to copyright restrictions, we cannot publish Anne of Windy Poplars on our site. However, depending on copyright laws in your country, you may download it for free from Project Gutenberg Australia. This review was originally published on my personal blog, book-a-rama.

Anne of Windy PoplarsIn the fourth of the Anne of Green Gables series, our heroine Anne Shirley has graduated university and gained a position as principal of Summerside High School. Anne's on her own. She has to make new friends in a new town. Not much of a problem for Anne, you might think, but she finds herself in hostile territory. The town is run by a family named Pringle, and Summerside is lousy with Pringles. The Pringles are a clannish group who have a passive aggressive way of running people they don't like out of town. Poor Anne unknowingly took the post of principal from...a Pringle. Somehow (I won't say how) Anne gets the Pringles on her side just when she's about to give it all up. Anne goes on to make friends with nearly every odd character she runs across until her three years are up, and she heads back to Avonlea.

Told mostly through letters to Gilbert, the book's full of Anne's peppy optimism. Anne vows to find the good in everyone, making the reader think that even the most surly curmudgeon has a warm, fuzzy side. The townspeople are often caricatures of small town folk. The nosies, the talkers, the "old blood". Sometimes it gets a bit much, but I recognized people I know in the characters. Montgomery's pen is sharp, but there's love in her writing.

I love reading the Anne series. I'm not sure Anne of Windy Poplars can be considered a children's book. Anne's a young woman in her twenties tackling the working world. Montgomery is probably one of the most recognizable Canadian authors. Her books are such fun to read with beautifully written prose. When I think of CanLit now, I can't help thinking, where did it turn a 180? There's great writing, sure, but finding a happy ending in a modern Canadian novel is like finding a needle in a haystack. What a bunch of downers we've become. If John took requests for the Wednesday Compare, I'd suggest he pit Montgomery against Atwood: Optimist vs Pessimist.

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